Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial or “the Wall” is a memorial to all those who served in the Vietnamese war, both living and death. It was founded by Jan Scruggs, the president of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. He himself served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 as an infantry corporal.

On July 1, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the legislation to provide a site in Constitution Gardens near the Lincoln Memorial. After the competition for the design was announced, 1,421 design entries had been submitted. All entries were judged anonymously by a jury of eight internationally recognized artists and designers. The winning design was chosen on May 1, 1981 and it was made by an undergraduate at Yale University, Maya Ying Lin.

The design and plans received final Federal approval on March 11, 1982 and the work began five days later. The general conductor was the Gilbane Building Company and the architectural firm of Cooper-Lecky Partnership supervised the construction. The Memorial (wall) was completed in late October and dedicated on November 13, 1982, climaxing a week- long salute to Vietnam veterans. Two years later all three unites (the wall, the statue, and the flag) were combined and the Memorial was completed.

The Memorial is made of black granite from Bangalore, India. The lettering is light gray in color, the natural color of the abraded stone, which contrasts sharply with the polished black surface, making it extremely legible.

Today there are 58,253 names listed on the Memorial. Since the Memorial was dedicated there have been nine groups of names added. In group 1 (1983) there were 68 names added, group 2(1984) 15 names, group 3 (1986) 110 names, group 4 (2001) six names, group 5 (2002) three names, group 6 (2003) six names, group 7 (2004) ten names, group 8 (2005) four names, group 9 (2006) four names. Approximately 1200 of these are listed as missing.
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